THE Indian Covid variant has been identified in Colchester, official data shows.

According to the data, in the two weeks to May 1, a case of the B.1.617.2 Covid variant was found in the borough.

The Wellcome Sanger Institute has been tracking the variant's spread in England with help from Public Health England.

Its data shows there was one genome of the variant identified in Colchester per week during this fortnight period.

It also states there was half a genome identified per week in Tendring during this period.

You can view the data here.

On Thursday the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) reportedly held discussions about the spread of the Indian variant and how it could have an impact on the Government’s road map out of lockdown.

Over the weekend Essex County Council's director of public health Dr Mike Gogarty confirmed cases have been found in Chelmsford.

He did not confirm how many.

Dr Gogarty told BBC Essex he was "worried" about the variant.

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Surge testing has begun in areas across England where the variants have already been found and Dr Gogarty confirmed he "wouldn't hesitate" if rates rise in Essex.

On Monday lockdown restrictions have been eased as part of the Government's roadmap out of lockdown.

Changes include the return of indoor dining as hospitality venues are permitted to open indoor premises.

Gathering of up to 30 people will also be allowed in an outdoor setting.

Hotels, cinemas and museums will also be allowed to reopen.

The spread of the new Indian variant has thrown into doubt whether the further relaxation of lockdown restrictions, set to take place on June 21, will be able to go head.

This is when all restrictions are set to be scrapped.

Speaking on Monday Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said he thinks it “very likely” all coronavirus restrictions will be scrapped on June 21, despite the threat of the Indian variant.

Defending the decision to ease the lockdown, the Cabinet minister told Sky News: “Yes, things are opening up but people should have common sense, they should use judgment and I think if we act in a reasonable way, there is no reason to suppose that we can’t reopen the economy entirely on June 21.

“I think there has to be a degree of common sense, a bit of caution and people shouldn’t be running away being too exuberant, I suppose.

“I think we just need to be measured and cautious.”